Childhood weight is 35-40% inherited
A new study from the University of Sussex has found that 35-40% of a child’s BMI is inherited from their parents. For obese children this proportion rises to approximately 55-60%. The research used data from 100,000 children and their parents across the globe and found that intergenerational transmission of BMI is around 0.2, or 20% each from the mother and father. Interestingly, the results were consistent across the different countries, with varying lifestyle factors coming into play, suggesting that this is not just an isolated phenomenon.
The study also found that the effect was more pronounced when a child was heavier. The ‘parental effect’ was higher in more obese children; for thin children, the association is likely to be 10% each from the mother and father, for the heavier child this could go up to 30%. The results highlight that obesity is not only due to lifestyle factors but also genetic and family factors, and therefore it may be wise to monitor the weight of children especially if their parents are overweight or obese.